He seems to be there all hours of the day. He just wont go away. He’s becoming a permanent feature of the Dronfield landscape, and try as you might, there is just no escaping him. No, not Dave Berry.
I’m talking about the guy who shouts ‘Big Issue’ and tries to sell you a copy of the same magazine in the Civic Centre, usually positioned outside the charity shop next to Clinton Cards ( I can’t recall which charity shop… there are now so many).
You spot him as soon as you turn the corner into the Civic. From that moment on you start to devise a cunning route plan to out-manoevour him, accepting the risk to your life and perform the ‘walk of death’ across the car park (narrowly avoiding being hit by a Yaris) as you detour from the pavement to get to the Co-op.
You spot some other unfortunate folk who do not yet realise who he is and why he’s there. One or two will be stopped in their tracks, and either out of confusion or just intimidation, end up paying for a magazine they have absolutely no interest, involvement, empathy or understanding of. They will stuff the mag into their coat or bag, and probably dispose of it when they get home… in the correct recycling bin obviously…this is Dronfield after all.
But why is he here? Why is he in Dronfield?
We’ve all been walking through big towns and cities, and heard the cries of the Big Issue sellers. We’ve all kept our head down and usually walked past them, mingling in with the crowd and subconsciously using the term ‘safety in numbers’ to do so. In Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Chesterfield, Unstone, etc, yes….. We accept their may be homelessness and people living rough on the streets. People down on their luck and struggling to get a roof over their head. A Big Issue seller is at home in these surroundings (no pun intended), and they are an accepted part of the fabric of city life.
But in Dronfield? No.
We do the charity thing ourselves in our own ways and with our own events, thank you very much.
We don’t take kindly to people shouting at us as we go about our daily routines.
We can accept the odd ‘tin rattler’ for poppies and such, no problem.
We can choose to put our £1 coin or whatever into a slot in plastic tin and go happily on our way, getting nothing in return but satisfaction.
The very last thing we need in Dronfield is another irrelevant unrepresentative magazine that is in no way connected, nor will ever have any connections with our town. The Dronny Advertiser currently fills that particular niche. If in future years, we do get homeless folk bedding down for the night on the steps of the Peel Centre, then we’ll happily buy some of the mags and get the issue sorted.
It will then, and only then, become a Dronfield Big Issue.